What do you think is the root cause of happiness?

Wealth?

Fame?

Good looks?

Intelligence?

Power?

happyWell, many people think that any or all of the above are root causes of happiness, but research has indicated that those things really don’t provide a long-lasting feeling of contentment. In fact, one of the most important things you can possess to ensure a lifetime of happiness is a character trait that anyone can develop: gratefulness.

Since Thanksgiving is just around the corner, it’s a good time to think about what we are thankful for and enjoy the bonus of feeling happier.

What, exactly, does an attitude of gratitude do for our well-being that contributes to life-long happiness? So much!

Here are some of the benefits of practicing gratefulness:

  • reduced risk of heart disease and cancer;
  • a stronger immune system;
  • increased productivity;
  • improved decision making;
  • increased achievements;
  • better interpersonal relationships;
  • a better self-image;
  • more respect from others;
  • less stress;
  • reduced feelings of jealousy;
  • happier memories (research has indicated gratefulness helps us remember the good stuff in life and minimize the negative);
  • a feeling of well-being;
  • stronger resilience;
  • more energy;
  • better sleep; and
  • a longer life.

Want some ideas on how to cultivate an attitude of gratefulness? The University of California, Berkeley published 10 great tips by Robert Emmons including using visual reminders; watching your language; and thinking outside the box by seeking new things to be grateful for.

Here’s another tip: grateful people mindfully use social media in a positive way. So post an inspirational quote or this article on your social media, and you will not only grow in your practice of gratefulness but encourage others to take this meaningful path as well.